Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers
Farm family carries on conservation legacy
Press Release - April 13, 2022
Have you driven past a field and wondered what is growing or what the farmer is doing? We now have field signs that will help identify cover crops, no-till and limited tillage and crops that were planted into green (an existing cover crop). Members of Sheboygan River Progressive Farmers test and explore farming strategies that lead to improved soil health, greater farming efficiency, sustain profitability and lessen the impact on the environment.
Cover crops have been shown to reduce soil loss, improve nutrient holding capacity and increase overall soil health. Economic studies have shown that cover crops are a good long-term investment when soil health, yield, and nutrient loss are considered. Cover crops play an important role in reducing nitrate delivery to groundwater because certain types (grasses with extensive root systems like cereal rye) can absorb nitrate and other cover crops (legumes) can produce nitrogen, thus the need for less fertilizer.
No-till and Limited Tillage
Reducing tillage leads to improved soil health, greater water holding capacity and reduced erosion. This farming practice works best when paired with other conservation tactics like cover crops, reduced nitrogen fertilizer rates and split applications of nitrogen. No-till and limited till are also excellent tools to reduce soil loss and run-off which leads to reduced phosphorus loss, soil erosion and helps improve water quality in nearby lakes and streams.
Planting green refers to no-till planting of primary crops into actively growing cover crops. This practice can be used when planting a grain crop such as corn or soybeans into a cover crop. This contrasts with planting into a cover crop that was killed 2 or 3 weeks before planting at a time that cover crop growth is exploding. Research has shown that by using this practice, cover crop biomass can easily be doubled.
The SRPF is an alliance of farmers and related business people that are dedicated to enhancing farm, land, and water resources in the Sheboygan River basin. They desire to test and use the best management practices available to build better soils, enhance agricultural production, and to minimize the environmental impacts of farming to the community as a whole.
The purpose of the SRPF is to discover available farming practices, to test those practices, and to share information on farming practices that are intended to improve soil health, increase farm efficiency, and reduce the effects of runoff. The group will have the opportunity to run multiple tests during multiple years to develop the best strategies for their and neighboring farms. They will also have the ability to bring in speakers and other resources on a variety of topics related to their operations.
• Member farmers will identify the most vulnerable fields that have potential to be improved with on farm conservation methods.
• Measure soil health of fields that will act as test/demo sites.
• Commit to several years of action on individual fields to better show a shift in soil health and crop sustainability.
• Hold several field days at various sites to exhibit improvements and techniques.
• Work with the non-farming community to reach water quality goals and enhance the sense of community between rural and urban residents in the basin.
Will be individuals who are actively engaged in agriculture that have the ability to test out new best management practices on a portion of their owned or rented land.
Members will be eligible for financial assistance through the group to implement new practices.
Tracking and sharing the results of those experiments with other members, either at the meetings or during field days is highly encouraged.